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Ellis Island - History
By Sarah Lane
Jan 28, 2005, 15:59

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Ellis Island - History

As people left the familiarity of the 'Old World' and embarked upon their journey to the New, they gave up every known comfort.  Passengers traveled sometimes up to two months before reaching Ellis Island, the entrance to America.  Conditions were grave and many people didn't survive the trip due to starvation and disease.  If they did, they were subjected to a very long inspection process. 

Armed with tags pinned to their clothes, men, woman and children went through five hours of testing to prove themselves a capable human being.  Aside from intelligence tests there were doctor's present looking for any of 60 symptoms that might force them to turn someone down.  In all, 2% of immigrants were denied entry into the country.  During its peak years, 1892-1924, Ellis Island admitted about 5,000 people a day.  Over 60 million people were recorded entering the states from the 19th to the early 20th century. 

Ellis Island closed its doors in 1954.  The familiar red brick buildings and four huge towers standing 140 feet high would suffer the effects of nature alone for several years.  Ellis Island eventually became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965 and was properly restored.  It reopened its doors in September 1990, not to immigrants but to their descendants for historical remembrance.
Today, the main building is now the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which commemorates the stories of the immigrants and preserves the image of the American Dream for generations to come.

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© Copyright Jan 28, 2005 by

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